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Seattle NHL Expansion Bid Could Be Voted on This Fall

KeyArena renovation Oak View Group hockey

NHL commissioner Gary Bettman indicates that the earliest a Seattle NHL expansion bid will be voted on is this fall, as work remains in the process.

An effort is underway to bring an NHL expansion franchise to Seattle, where the team would play at a renovated KeyArena. Led by billionaire David Bonderman and producer Jerry Bruckheimer, the Seattle expansion effort is seeking approval for a team to begin play in the fall of 2020, coinciding with the completion of the arena renovation.

Seattle is seen as a strong market, and the addition of a team there would give the NHL 32 clubs. This bid also calls for a $650 million expansion fee, topping the $500 million paid by the league’s most recent expansion team–the Vegas Golden Knights. While the prospect of a Seattle expansion team is intriguing for a number of reasons, Bettman recently emphasized that plenty of work remains before the bid will be considered by the league’s Board of Governors. The earliest that the bid will be up for a vote is this fall, with the early winter also a possibility if more time is needed. More from

Commissioner Bettman said an update on the Seattle expansion application will be provided to the Board at its meeting June 20.

“There are a number of bases we have to touch, a lot of due diligence that has to be done, a lot of interaction with the prospective ownership group, David Bonderman’s group,” Commissioner Bettman said. “We think we’re on target and depending on how everything goes it wouldn’t surprise me that there is a possibility that in the fall, early winter at the latest that this could be addressed by the Board, but we’re not there yet and there’s still work to be done.”

The ownership group is working with Los Angeles-based Oak View Group on a privately financed $600 million renovation of KeyArena, the former home of the NBA’s Seattle SuperSonics before the franchise relocated to Oklahoma City in 2008.

“The building still has to be renovated, so there’s plenty of time to deal with the issues that have to be dealt with,” Commissioner Bettman said.

The KeyArena renovation will result in a modernized venue that is capable of hosting teams in both the NBA and NHL. There is plenty of sentiment in Seattle for landing an NBA team, as the city has been without one since the SuperSonics relocated to Oklahoma City in 2008, but the ongoing expansion effort makes the NHL a more imminent possibility.

Rendering courtesy Oak View Group.

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